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Low marks blamed on absentee teachers

Poor education standards in Nairobi are a result of absenteeism and disproportionate distribution of teachers in most schools.

During the release of a county education report yesterday, it emerged that schools suffer from high teacher absenteeism while the teacher-pupil ratio is also high.

“Absenteeism in city schools stands at 70 per cent. According to the World Bank, at any given time, only 30 per cent of teachers are involved in teaching in primary schools,” said Governor Evans Kidero during release of the report.

In some schools, the teacher-pupil ratio is as high as1:100. Olympic and Kawangware Primary Schools are clear examples.

But in a rather strange twist of turn, there are schools with as few as three pupils per class. Muslim Primary School on Gen Waruinge Road in Starehe, for instance, has 28 classrooms and only 90 pupils.

Poor or inadequate infrastructure in the schools, insecurity, land grabbing and poor sanitary conditions also contribute to bad performance. In some schools like Roysambu and Muthurwa, raw sewage flows freely in parts of their compounds.

Many of these public schools also lack tap water.

Some like Kariobangi South have fallen into a state of disrepair for years. The school has 1,500 pupils and 24 classrooms.

“The school needs at least Sh55 million for refurbishment,” said taskforce chairman Dr Mark Matunga.

The county government is seeking Sh30 billion for repair and building of classes and new schools.

At the same time, the report revealed that half of children in Nairobi cannot be accounted for in the education system. “Nairobi has about 800,000 school-going children but only 442,000 are in ECD centres, primary and secondary schools,” said Dr Matunga.